The coronavirus pandemic will push the world economy into the worst economic crisis seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s, says the International Monetary Federation (IMF).
With government lockdowns forcing companies to close and affecting the incomes of millions, Kristalina Georgieva, head of the fund, warned the world would only see a partial economic recovery by the end of next year.
“Just three months ago, we expected positive per capita income growth in over 160 of our member countries in 2020,” she said.
“Today, that number has been turned on its head: we now project that over 170 countries will experience negative per capita income growth this year.”
“In fact, we anticipate the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression.”
Investors fear missing out
But rather than step back and heed the warning, investors have vacuumed up shares in the markets stung by the fear that they may miss out on super-low prices.
Most markets are now closed until Tuesday but saw traders swarm to pick up shares before the Easter closure.
The FTSE 100 in London flew by the 5800 mark to end the day 2.9% up at 5842.66 for the first time in four weeks. The FTSE 250 also made strides, moving up 3.44% to 16407.92.
Big gains were again posted by leisure and travel companies despite warnings of hard times ahead.
Cineworld jumped another 16% on top of significant gains in recent days and Premier Inn hotelier Whitbread added 7%.
Across Europe, markets rallied with the CAC 40 in Paris closing 1.44% up at 4506.85, the DAX in Frankfurt rising 2.24% to 10564.74 and Madrid’s IBEX 1.71% up at 7070.60.
Markets finish week on a high
In New York, the Dow Jones was showing a 2.21|% increase to 23952.22 at lunchtime, the NASDAQ was rising 1.22% to 8189.77 and in Chicago, the S&P 500 was 2.24% ahead at 2811.63.
Early trading in Asia saw the Hang Seng in Hong Kong close 1.38% up at 24300.33, while the Nikkei in Tokyo sputtered down 0.04% to 19345.77.
The Pound held ground against the Japanese Yen and US Dollar but fell back against the Euro.
Closing prices were 0.6% up to $1.2455 against the dollar; rising 0.14% against the yen to ¥134.95 and down 0.14% to €1.1391 versus the euro.
Oil had another good day on speculation Saudi Arabia and Russia will settle their production spat within a few hours – or more likely days.
A barrel of Brent Crude ended the day 1.67% better at $33.39, a rise of 55 cents.